HASBROUCK HEIGHTS, NJ -- The winning word for the 2020 Hasbrouck Heights Junior Woman's Spelling Bee: Dynamite. (Jimmie "JJ"  Walker would be proud.)

Ethan Espinas correctly spelled commission after Bhumika Manghwani misspelled the word.  He then need to spell dynamite to win, which he did successfully to win the Hasbrouck Heights Junior Woman’s Club 28th Annual Spelling Bee Friday night at Kiefer Auditorium.

The top three finishers, Espinas, Bhumika Manghwani, and Enric Soni, qualified to move on to the District Spelling Bee to be held in Hasbrouck Heights on Saturday, February 8 at 10am. The top three finishers in the districts will move on to the state spelling bee to be held in New Brunswick.

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The field of 28 students was culled from the fourth and fifth grades in Euclid School, Lincoln School, and Corpus Christi School. Each homeroom hosted its own spelling bee, sending the top two finishers to Friday’s town-wide event.

Marija Forenbaher, vice president of the Junior Woman’s Club, was the moderator for the evening, welcoming the audience. She thanked the Board of Education, principals and teachers for their continued support of the Bee. 

The Spelling Bee rules were reviewed by Karen Felicetti, Reading Specialist at Lincoln School. Cindy Capozzi, former JWC president and Media Specialist at Lincoln School, was the evening’s Pronouncer. The evening’s judges were Mimi Hui, Director, Hasbrouck Heights Public Library; Patricia Caruso, Hasbrouck Heights Board of Education, and Joseph Mastropietro, Principal, Hasbrouck Heights Middle School.

Capozzi began the evening allowing the students a non-scored round of spelling their names to allow the students to get comfortable speaking into the microphone, addressing the judges and answering in the required Spelling Bee format, say the word, spell the word, say the word, smile, and sit. The first word of the night was harvest.  Early rounds the words varied from snowball, handle, adult and necklaceamong them. As the rounds went along, words got more difficult with turquoise, spaghetti, ultimate, aardvark, receipt and automobile among them. Proper nouns, April, Vermont, and Wednesday, were also asked. Students were allowed to ask for a word's definition and to hear it used in a sentence.

4th Grade

12 Lorenzo Azzolino           16 Dylan Nyugen                  4 Bozkurt Irem

19 Brynn Passarella             9 Gurudaran Ramaraj       18 Daijah Day

2 Sebastian Restrepo          10 Bhumika Manghwani

23 Joseph Scarpa                20 Jack Oettinger

25 Zoey Selenfriend             22 Tyler Perez

8 Austin Zgoda                    14 Valentina Potts


5th Grade                                       

3 Matthew Cornelius             11 Lena Kaiser                      7 Alex Cevallos

27 Cara Gray                          24 Anjelee Marte               13 Ethan Espinas

6 Sean McGill                        1 Ronnie Menne

26 Richard Osei Escobar     17 Frida Rajab

5 Ella Perrapato                     28 Khalep Rodriguez

15 Enric Soni                        21 Nick Tufo-Defranco


The order of contestants was randomly selected prior to the Spelling Bee.

Euclid School teachers include Fourth Grade teachers Eileen Oettinger, Lori Bothe, and Melissa Gyenes, and Fifth Grade teachers Christina Bari, Diane Robertson, and Lisa Palladino.

Lincoln School teachers include Allison Daly, Danielle Reynolds, and  Michael Mertz from Fourth Grade; Eileen LaTorre, Gayle Dubofsky, and Laurie Brancato from Fifth Grade.

Corpus Christi teachers are Karen Mastrofilippo, Fourth Grade, and Denise Adamo, Fifth Grade.


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